27-30 Jan, Ohio, Usa, $5k
Kanzy wins a thriller
By Nathan Dugan
It was fitting that the final match of
the Gaynor Cup in Cincinnati was truly the best match of the
tournament. It was filled with a talented array of shot-making,
ridiculous dives and twists in the score line that provided the
packed house with intense drama only seen in live sporting
Zeina Mickawy went into the match as the underdog against
top seed Kanzy El Defrawy, despite knocking out the
second and fourth seed on route to her first PSA 10K final.
Zeina surprisingly took the first game, with her powerful
hitting and unpredictability of shot selection giving Kanzy all
sorts of problems and a difficulty to find a rhythm.
Kanzy levelled the match winning the second but it was still not
the fluid performance we had come to expect due to the pressure
being applied by her opponent. At 10-8 Kanzy produced the first
of several dives of the night after being wrong footed, but she
still somehow won the rally and let out a primal scream that
showed how much the game meant to her.
Zeina was only shaken but not stirred as she retaliated fiercely
in the third. She controlled the points and the outcome was
largely due to her hitting a winner or striking the tin, which
was clearly occurring too much for her liking. The pace was
frantic and Kanzy looked out of answers as she hung in rather
than dictating play.
At 6-2 down in the fourth and with Zeina playing with such
confidence, it looked as though the possibility of back to back
PSA tour victories was out of Kanzy’s grasp. Two quick tins from
Zeina, that may haunt her when she looks back at the match,
seemed to spark a revival in our top seed and then a rally which
featured three dives showed that Kanzy was not going to throw in
the towel just yet. 6-2 up turned to 6-9 down and a
reinvigorated Kanzy was heading to the fifth.
There was nothing to separate the two tied 6-6, as the rallies
extended and the quality of finishing points increased. Both
players were clearly tired but in full focus as the crowed were
fortunate to witness squash at its finest. The walls were
frequently leaned on for support after gut wrenching rallies as
both players left everything they had on the court. Kanzy
produced a great lob off a dive to go 9-7 up and then a tinned
crosscourt nick effort from Zeina off the return of serve made
it 10-7 and seemingly game over. Dramatically and fittingly,
Zeina found a way back, and with the score tied at 10-10 the
crowd were raucous as they cheered on the exhausted players.
Zeina hit a winner to get her first match ball at 11-10 before
Kanzy scrambled to save it and then hit another gutsy kill shot
to save match ball and take us to 12-12. With nothing left in
the tank, Kanzy rolled a crosscourt nick return of serve, and
then closed out the match with another short winner that ended a
final where it was a shame there had to be a loser.
biggest cheer of the night may have been for Zeina as she
returned to the court for the post-match interview as the crowd
showed appreciation for her contribution to a phenomenal match.
Kanzy, with her minions consisting of all the club squash rats
in tow, accepted the Gaynor Cup graciously and paid tribute to
her rival for producing maybe the match of her life.
Cincinatti Gaynor Cup
27-30 Jan, Ohio, Usa, $10k
 Kanzy El Dafrawy (Egy)
11/3, 11/0, 11/3 (20m)
Janet Vidih (Ind)
 Kanzy El Dafrawy
11/2, 11/3, 11/3
 Kanzy El Dafrawy
11/7, 118, 12/10
 Nada Abbas
5 PSA titles in 3 months for Kanzy (8 in all)
 Kanzy El Dafrawy
7/11, 11/8, 8/11, 11/8, 14/12
 Zeina Mickawy
 Reryna Pacheco (Usa)
11/8, 6/11, 11/8, 8/11, 13/11 (54m)
Sadia Gul (Pak)
 Chloe Mesic (Fra)
11/6, 11/9, 11/7 (35m)
Rowan Araby (Egy)
11/4, 11/8, 4/11, 11/9
 Nada Abbas
 Nada Abbas (Egy)
11/9, 11/7, 11/8 (27m)
Wee Nee Low (Mas)
Farah Momen (Egy)
11/5, 11/5, 11/4
 Tamika Saxby (Aus)
 Tamika Saxby
10/12, 12/10, 11/6, 11/5
 Haley Mendez
 Tamika Saxby
11/7, 11/8, 11/9
 Zeina Mickawy
Thaisa Serafini (Bra)
11/0, 11/1, 11/3
 Haley Mendez (Usa)
Diana Garcia (Mex)
11/7, 11/7, 11/9
 Zeina Mickawy (Egy)
 Zeina Mickawy
11/6, 4/11, 11/9, 11/1
 Hollie Naughton
Amy Smedira (Usa)
11/6, 9/11, 11/6, 11/4
 Hollie Naughton (Can)
Kanzy on course for back-to-back titles
By Nathan Dugan and Connie Nelson
Kanzy El Defrawy and Zeina
Mickawy will face off in an all-Egyptian championship match
of the inaugural PSA Gaynor Cup, after both winning in straight
games in their respective semi-finals.
seed Mickawy, who knocked out the second seed in the previous
round, was the first into the final. She played with aggressive
pace on the ball to gain control of the tee and then used her
backhand volley to inflict the damage on her Australian
opponent, Tamika Saxby.
Tamika’s agility kept her in every game and she almost snuck the
third despite a collision between the two players at 6-6,
resulting in Tamika using an injury timeout. Zeina was in no
mood for a fourth though as she produce two outright winners to
end the match from 9-9 and reach her maiden 10K final.
The second semifinals between Nada Abbas and Defrawy started
with a bang with Kanzy’s fan club, consisting of local junior
players, parading her onto the court with music blaring.
Nada started a little nervously, but once she settled, she
started to produce some excellent squash which led to the
highlight of the night when Kanzy used her “Egyptian Magic” to
dive and successfully retrieve three consecutive balls.
Kanzy used a wide selection of shots and her experience to win
the first two games, but the third proved to be her toughest
test of the tournament so far. Nada was playing with great
patience and extended the rallies which showed some
vulnerability to the top seeds game.
After surviving a game ball, Kanzy then dove again at 10-10 to
set up match ball which was converted when Nada tinned a volley
Heating up in Cincinatti
By Nathan Dugan
Kanzy El Defrawy remains on course for
her second PSA title in as many weeks with a straight forward,
but highly entertaining match with Sadia Gul. Kanzy, equally
entertaining off the court as he is on, produced another display
of racquet wizardry that left her opponent scrambling for most
of the match.
Nada Abbas earned a semi-final berth with fellow Egyptian,
Kanzy, after securing her first ever victory over compatriot
Rowen Elaraby. The two 16 year olds both showed plenty of
passion and at times desperation, as it became clear that
neither player wanted to lose to their longtime rival.
Nada took a 2-0 game playing with more freedom than her
obviously edgy opponent. Rowan did mount a comeback but the
damage had already been done as Nada produced maybe a shock
victory, despite being the higher seed.
The hopes of a US player winner the Gaynor Cup in the inaugural
year ended when Haley Mendez succumbed at the hands of Tamika
Saxby. It may have been more the legs than the hands that were
the issue though as the game produced some grueling leg burner
rallies. Haley snuck the first 12-10 and almost doubled her
advantage after playing some quality squash to lead 11-10 in the
Sport is all about moments, and for Tamika, hers was a volley
boast winner off the return of serve that even the Egyptians
have not dreamt up! Nobody saw it coming especially Haley and
then two points later it was one game all. Tamika never looked
back and the extra fuel in her tank seemed the difference as she
gradually took control of the match to win in four tough games.
Zeina Mickawy produced another solid performance taking out the
second seed, Hollie Naughton. Hollie looked anxious in the first
but settled herself to level the match, looking particularly
good off the volley drops.
The pivotal third was neck and neck until 9-9 and was Zeina who
produced the goods to close it out. This allowed the young
Egyptian loosen up in the fourth and she raced to a 9-0 lead
despite Hollie continuing to give it her all. The 3-1 victory
sets up an encounter with Tamika, a player she has never
encountered in her playing career.
27-Jan, Round One:
Seeds safely through in Cincinatti - well,
By Nathan Dugan and Jon Geekie
Day one of the Gaynor Cup was a fairly straight forward night
for most of the seeded players with the only upset occurring in
the first match of the night. Chloe Mesic, the fifth seed from
France, came up against a rising star in Rowen Elaraby. The
Egyptian, a proven junior being a finalist at the World Junior
Championships last summer, had a few too many tricks up her
sleeve to disrupt Chloe’s game. She hit several disguised boast
winners on the way to a 3-0 victory.
Nada Abbas set up an all Egyptian sixteen year old clash with
Elaraby in the quarter finals, taking out former World Junior
finalist Weenee Low in three games. Weenee showed some great
racquet work from days gone by to make the score line close but
lacked a little sharpness in the physical arena to compete with
her young opponent.
Top seed, Kanzy Emad El Defrawy, breezed through to the
quarters, displaying some deft touch that will leave the rest of
the draw fearful of her form given that she won in Delaware a
week ago. Janet couldn’t get the Egyptian Magician off the T as
she went down in three games.
The last match produced the first fist pumps and vamos’s of the
event as the crowd at the Cincinnati Country Club were treated
to some drama and a 13-11 in the fifth score line. Sadia Gul was
the victor to progress to the quarter finals and a stern
challenge with the top seed, while Reyna Pacheco will be left to
lick her wounds, maybe literally as the match turned into a
rather physical affair.
Points frequently ended in strokes with Sadia moving back into
the path of the ball and power becoming the emphasis over the
flair we had seen in the earlier matches.
The bottom half of the draw was played at the T Squash Academy.
The match between Zeina Mickawy and Diana Garcia was high tempo
affair with both players looking to volley as much as possible
to assert court dominance. Diana took an early lead from a
number of unforced errors from Zeina only to see the game slip
from her grasp when Zeina ended it with 3 cross court nicks.
Game two followed a similar pattern to the first with both
players hunting the volley. Diana tightened up her straight
hitting and fought point for point up to 7-8 again only to see
Zeina close the game out with another 3 cross court nicks. In
the final and closest game of the match both players matched
each other point for point up to 8-8 before 2 tins from Diana
gave Zeina 2 match balls which she converted at the second time
Local pro, Amy Smedira, filling in last minute after a
withdrawal, gave the locals something to cheer about when she
tied the match at one game all with second seed, Hollie
Naughton. Hollie always had the edge in the first as Amy tried
to match her opponent’s intensity of pace.
In the second game Amy quickly found herself with a 6-2 lead
with Hollie showing a few signs of frustration after a couple of
errors. Amy now playing with more confidence started to use more
height and prevented Hollie from cutting the ball off as
effectively. At 10-5 up, Amy almost let Hollie back in as she
rushed to win the game.
At 10/9, and after a long rally, Amy managed to glue a counter
drop to the side wall to finally take it. Clearly frustrated
with herself Hollie came out with more intensity in the third
and fourth game. The physical effects of not training full time
and winning the second were evident as Amy started to tire. Amy
fought hard to the end but Hollie cut out the earlier errors and
secured herself a place in the quarter finals.
Tamika settled into the game very quickly looking to extend the
rallies and test Farah’s patience. Farah struggled to start the
points on the front foot allowing Tamika to control the pace of
play which saw Farah turn too aggressive, hitting numerous tins.
Speaking with her coach back in Dubai who was watching via
Facebook, Farah started to find the back corners more often but
only then to see her attacking shots absorbed by Tamika’s
movement and she was unable to register a game on the board.
Haley set up an intriguing match with Tamika in the second round
with a very clinical performance from the 6 seed Hayley this
evening. She set out playing a very controlled and methodical
game and made light work of Thaisa. Thaisa fought hard in every
rally to try and find a way to break Hayley but unfortunately
there was no way through!
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